Cannabis consumption: Is it really worth it? Emily Curtis
I think it’s fair enough to say that cannabis consumption is far from an alien concept for the youth of today, whether it be because they engage in recreational use, provide others with the substance, find themselves in the presence of others consuming the drug, or simply because they hold pre-existing knowledge of Cannabis and its potentially harmful effects. Cannabis in itself has two main uses: recreational (often occurring as a result of peer pressure or the desire and need for escapism) or medical (to aid the treatment of psychotic and anxiety disorders).
Drug and substance usage and abuse can lead to developing a tolerance, therefore needing more of the drug to get the same effect or even developing a sense of comfort from its consumption. This means it is a potential threat for the wellbeing of an individual, as becoming comfortable with one drug, a gateway drug as such, can progress onto trying other elicit substances, typically from the same circle of friends, resulting in another potential addiction. Not only is addiction an issue, but the potentially detrimental effects of other drugs can cause the individual more damage than originally intended. Research has also found that regular Cannabis use increases your risk of developing a psychotic illness such as Schizophrenia which is, with no doubt, not worth the momentary experience of adrenaline and so on. According to the NHS, research shows that 10% of regular Cannabis users become dependent on it and that your risk of getting addicted is higher if you start using it in your teenage years. This is precisely why awareness needs to be drawn to the topic of Cannabis consumption or frankly to any form of involvement with the substance. More importantly, the most vulnerable generation susceptible to peer-pressure should be educated, not only on the effects that are momentarily experienced, but the ones that have the ability to damage an individual in the long run. The desired effects of Cannabis consumption vary from person to person, but generally speaking, they include relaxation and euphoria, a general alteration of conscious perception, and increased awareness of sensation and distortions in the perception of time and space. In addition to these desired effects – which are typically associated with recreational use – some also believe in the potential medical benefits of Cannabis consumption. Despite this perception of Cannabis being beneficial to advances in medical treatment, the use of Cannabis as a medicine or simply an aid to the reduction of psychotic or anxious symptoms has not been rigorously scientifically tested; therefore, it cannot be proven that Cannabis has medical benefits. According to the NHS, there are trials under way to test cannabis-based drugs for other conditions including cancer pain, the eye disease glaucoma, appetite loss in people with HIV or AIDS, and epilepsy in children, but no conclusions can be drawn regarding its effectiveness and overall medical benefit. A huge issue with Cannabis consumption is the acquiring of the substance itself through most likely a dealership, not truly known to the consumer. Of course, you presume you know the person you’re buying Cannabis from, but do you truly know who they got it from, and who that person got it from, and so on? The list of person to person could be extensive but people remain reluctant to believe that such a process could ever have taken place. The most alarming factor to most people is that they cannot believe that such Cannabis producing organisations or even gangs exist, and even more alarming is the fact that they’re unaware of where the money used to pay for the drug goes. It’s more than likely that if you were to find out what your money was funding, you wouldn’t be comfortable in supporting such acts of potential violence and hate crime. But the fact is, people remain ignorant of this and reluctant to believe where their money goes and so choose to ignore it. Damaging as it may be, people evidently prefer for their ‘dodgy deals’ to remain hidden and seemingly non-existent. Ultimately, whether or not you choose to consume any substance or drug is out of other people’s control, but not out of yours. Just stop and consider the effects that may go beyond that momentary experience of euphoria and adrenaline and ask yourself: ‘Honestly, is it really worth it?’